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For parents finding it too difficult to spring clean

Dad and daughter spring cleaning

New Africa | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 04/15/24

Although spring is in the air, it's not always easy to get your home all shipshape, and here's why it doesn't have to be.

I recently read some comments on a Facebook thread where a woman asked for tips to make her home look unlived in. I must admit I was a little shocked, I personally want my home to look lived in (and it seriously does!). I hope it reflects my family’s life and personalities.

In fact, when visitors come to my home I want them to feel welcome and the warmth of my family. I don’t want them to feel they can’t relax or put something out of place. I definitely don’t want them to feel like they’re in a hotel environment.

I was therefore a little curious about the woman’s desire for a sterile home. I looked down through the comments and saw a mixture of replies. Some people gave no judgment and just passed on some tips. Others shared they wanted the same help, and others couldn’t believe why anybody would want to live in an “unlived” in home.

The woman explained in reply to the comments that she suffers from anxiety, and for her to feel at her best she needs zero dirt or clutter. That’s totally understandable. However, it made me think about the pressure we might feel to have the insta-perfect home. Where the whole house is carefully curated, pristine, and not one item is out of place.

And this pressure seems to mount around this time of year with the expectation we should be embarking on a spring clean.

The call to clean

There’s no denying the satisfaction to be had from cleaning out closets and feeling like your home is clean from top to bottom. And television programs with the famous de-clutter queen Marie Kondo have definitely inspired some people to cull their belongings and invest in some impressive organization solutions.

However, we don’t all have the time or the energy to devote to this annual endeavor. But then as the weeks and months go by we feel a little guilty and frustrated. Before we know it, it’s summer, the kids are at home for the vacation and we might be pondering whether it’s worth the effort to clear out and clean up the house for it to get destroyed in the blink of an eye.

And this is where you have to consider where you put your energies, and what is important for you to be able to function as a parent.

(Top tip: If your kids are old enough, you can always put on some music and do an energetic 30-minute tidy together before bedtime to bring some semblance of order to the home.)

What’s really important

Of course, it’s always great to have a clean home and hopefully get it a little organized. And for some parents they mentally need to have a higher level of cleanliness and organization to cope. Yet others feel it’s more important to spend time enjoying their children and giving them their time.

The important thing is to do what works for your family, and not feel the pressure to have the perfect home 24/7. Personally, a perfect home is one in which I can hear my kids laughing, and there’s enough food in the fridge to feed them.

And thankfully Marie Kondo has even invited a little bit of mess into her life since becoming a mom. As she shared in the Washington Post:

“Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times. I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.”

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